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I NEVER thought we’d do this to our main floor! (Luxury Vinyl Plank Pros and Cons)

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floors before lvp

by Robin

Our main floor has needed new flooring for so many years now.  We had old, thin hardwood that was beyond it’s last refinishing – with deep cracks at the seams.

Next to that was 20-year-old sheet vinyl that had wounds from dropped knives, tears from dragged appliances and faded worn spots from foot traffic. 

And you don’t want to hear me rant about the nasty carpeting in the living room.

It had gone from merely wanting new floor to truly needing it.  (It’s a bad sign when you fear children will get slivers from your hardwood, right?)

All I’ve ever wanted was hardwood here. Period. No discussion.  Hardwood is the best floor right?!

But a little birdie (named Ed) whispered in my ear – what about luxury vinyl plank?  He’s installed LVP in our basement and the bathroom at our weekend place (aka our mobile home makeover).  He wouldn’t stop singing its praises.  Mostly I ignored him.

But, guess what we’re installing as I write this? Yup. Luxury Vinyl Planks.

So why the change of mind?  Well…a few things happened at once that swayed me towards LVP.  I weighed the luxury vinyl plank pros and cons and happily committed to this resilient flooring.  Are you looking to replace flooring in your home?  Seriously, luxury vinyl planks may be just what you need to quickly and affordably makeover your floors.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Pros and Cons

Luxury Vinyl Plank PROS

Luxury Vinyl Plank Floors are Waterproof

  • I’ve always wanted the same flooring to run through our entire main floor – this would make it feel cohesive and larger.  This is a very big deal for me.
  • BUT, water accidents are commonplace in a kitchen. I was not sure I had the stomach to just wish and hope that the dog’s water dish never spilled or the dishwasher never leaked.  I want a waterproof floor in my kitchen.
  • This is HUGE.  If you have pets and/or kids – you know they leave all sorts of puddles pretty much everywhere.  Hardwood and puddles are sworn enemies – and water and laminate aren’t friends either – both will swell and warp.
  • So, I needed to choose a floor that was attractive through the whole main floor AND waterproof.
  • LVP fits both criteria! It’s waterproof and resilient.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Floors are Family and Pet-Friendly

  • This might seem like the same issue as above.  Waterproof = Family proof.  There’s a bit more to it though.
  • If I got my dream hardwood I would want to keep it safe and protected.  So, unless my family and pets moved elsewhere I would need to nag gently remind them CONSTANTLY to do all the things different.
  • What drove this point home for me was our son’s recent 13th birthday party.  A half-dozen dripping wet boys came inside from the pool and left wet footprints everywhere.  Here’s how different my responses would be:
    • Hardwood-Robin: “What’s going on here, boys?!?  What did I say about drying off?!?! Get back outside! Get your towel, for heaven’s sake!”
    • LVP-Robin: “How’s the pool, boys? Anyone thirsty yet?”
  • I want to be LVP-Robin for my family, pets and friends.  I can be chill when I know my floor will be fine no matter what.
luxury vinyl plank pros and cons

LVP Costs so much less

  • The cost per square foot of the luxury vinyl plank floor we chose was about a third of the cost of a comparable looking hardwood.  One third!  And that did not include install.
  • For us, install of LVP is $0.
  • Hardwood professional install is $5++ per square foot!  It is nowhere near as easy to install hardwood, it’s not a beginner DIY job. We’re seasoned DIYers and we were nervous about tackling hardwood ourselves.

Minimal Demo: Luxury vinyl planks can go right over existing hard flooring!

  • If your flooring is flat and smooth – and our old hardwood and vinyl sheet flooring was – you can lay this right on top.  This is a major time and money saver!  No renting a dumpster or trips to the dump. No slivers from tearing out the old floor. No trying to match up subfloor levels once the different floors were ripped out.
  • If we had gone with hardwood we had a lot of work to do even before we started nailing down planks.  With LVP we just pulled off the old baseboards and got started.  Instant gratification!
resilient flooring luxury vinyl plank

Easy Install in Less Time with Luxury Vinyl Planks

  • One of the big reasons Ed was advocating LVP flooring was the ease of install.  He’s installed LVP in our basement – you can see it in our Better Homes and Gardens magazine feature here.
  • It’s the easiest flooring we’ve ever worked with.
    • Cuts with a utility knife – you don’t even need a saw.
    • It floats – meaning no adhesives or nails hold it down.  Just click together.

Luxury Vinyl Plank CONS

Limited Choice of Finishes?

  • I thought the choices would be limited, but instead, I was very surprised.  There are so many convincing-looking finishes – not just wood, but tile and stone look too!  Some terrible-looking ones too, of course – but I’m sure they’re someone’s taste.
  • My major hold out was the look of vinyl plank.  But mentally I was comparing natural hardwood to the limited choices of LVP I had looked at years ago.  It has come so far! It’s incredible how natural it looks (when the manufacturer wants it to).  I’m excited to see if visitors to our house can even tell.

LVP isn’t a status symbol

  • It’s a practical and affordable floor – so don’t expect to impress snobbier people.
  • We’re not planning to ever sell our home – so we don’t need to think about appealing to a buyer.  If you’re selling soon, you might want the cache that comes with “hardwood flooring throughout”. That will impress more buyers.  But will you get your money back from a hardwood install? That’s tough to know.
  • If you’re like us, and you mostly just want to live a happy, carefree life in your attractive home – Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring is a great choice.

So that’s the story of how I became an LVP convert.  I can still hardly believe it myself, but I am so happy with the choice!

Now that he’s installed lvp flooring three times, Ed’s got some great tips to share about luxury vinyl tile installation – you can find them all here

We’re no strangers to installing affordable flooring.  Check out our other DIY flooring posts here:

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Tuesday 26th of November 2019

Hey Robin, great pictures! I've been researching a good bit about Luxury Vinyl Plank as an option for basement flooring and I really like what I've found so far. One reason I like it is a texturing technique called Embossed in Register (ER). ER is used to capture every wooden grain of detail from the original board on to the new plank. It even works for wood knots. It makes it so you can have the same look but at a much cheaper option. The added texture also decreases slipperiness, giving you more grip for your shoes. As a lover of the hardwood look, this really seems awesome. Do you have any advice on best methods of purchasing it?


Thursday 21st of November 2019

What brand of LVP and color did you use? That looks amazing!


Friday 6th of September 2019

This is really good and creative.


Monday 2nd of September 2019

Just the little peak we get to see looks really good! Great pick, can't wait to see it finished....